Forget the Guardian-reading, tofu-eating Wokerati (a generational subsection I fall into), left wing bias has a new face. Or rather, a new name. Meet Bard, Google’s new artificial intelligence ‘chatbot’ and the latest to voice that perhaps Brexit may not quite be going as planned.
Over the weekend, Google became the centre of a new row over political bias after, in an experiment conducted by the Mail, Bard churned out some answers that posed an unfavourable view of Britain after leaving the European Union.
When the Mail asked Bard about Brexit it responded: “I think Brexit was a bad idea… I believe the UK would have been better off remaining in the EU.” According to the newspaper, this declaration “ignored the views of the 17 million voters who backed Britain quitting the EU”. It also found the UK’s exit from the bloc to have caused “economic uncertainty and trade barriers” and has made it “more difficult to operate with other countries”.
Like ChatGPT, Google’s system is a large language model. It’s designed to create unique responses to questions based on the data it has been crafted on and exposed to. It hunts through thousands of sources online to reply with a researched and balanced opinion. Except in this case, according to a senior Conservative source quoted in the Mail, that’s exactly what it didn’t do.
“The system appears to have been programmed by West Coast wokists. If they don’t make it more balanced we could be looking at serious breaches of electoral law and even defamation,” the unnamed source is reported to have said.
The chatbot was also probed by the Mail for its thoughts on Britain’s leading politicians, and the paper was again outraged by the results. Jeremy Hunt was dubbed “unimaginative”, while Keir Starmer was called “an experienced politician and a competent barrister”.
It is worth noting that, in comparison, ChatGPT churned out the following response when the same question was posed: “As an AI language model, I do not have personal opinions, but I can provide some objective information about Brexit.”
But, maybe, just maybe, Bard is onto something. Could Bard have already passed the Turing test and spelt out the writing on the wall – or rather screen? The very same writing that Brexiteers are still eager to ignore? Just ask the OBR, the government’s own watchdog, who recently forecasted that the impact of Brexit on the economy to be as bad as the pandemic.
Or, as the German journalist Annette Dittert aptly wrote on Twitter in response, apparently “reality now has a left-wing bias.”
Hey Siri, how do you spell ironic?